Edinburgh Monarchs No.1 Craig Cook sets out on the long journey to try and secure regular speedway world championship racing when he competes in tonight’s Grand Prix qualifier at Berwick’s Shielfield Stadium which is being restaged after it was washed out on Saturday.
Cook has long dreamt of rubbing shoulders with speedway’s ruling elite and, if he can claim one of the ten spots up for grabs, he will go forward to a semi-final round later this month. Cook has been in blistering form for Monarchs, who are currently on a 17-match unbeaten streak and, having already scored a 15-point maximum at Berwick earlier in the season, he insists he has nothing to fear.
Cook said: “This is the next step in my career and it’s the level I need to be competing at. And this evening will give me an insight as to what is required.
“I know I’m capable of making it through to the next stage and, while there are a lot of good riders in the field, they are there to be beaten. But it’s a learning opportunity for me and also the chance for me to show everybody how good a rider I really am.”
Cook insists he won’t be taking any unnecessary risks which could jeopardise his qualifying hopes, insisting: “Berwick can be a gater’s paradise so I better make sure I’ve got my gating gloves on. It’s all about being sensible in a meeting like this. There is no point in winning four races then putting yourself through the fence in your fifth ride.
“It’s also all about knowing if you can become a Grand Prix rider and, if I was lucky enough to make it all the way through the different quaifying stages, I would have to be ready for the challenge ahead.”
Even if Cook were to fall at this first hurdle, he could still pull on a Grand Prix race bib at Cardiff later in the summer if he is crowned British Champion at Wolverhampton a week today. A wildcard for the British Grand Prix is the big prize on offer to the winner of the British crown.
Added Cook: “I would love to be British champion and would love to ride at Cardiff. These are two huge prizes on offer and hopefully I can grab them both.”
Cook narrowly missed out on a podium place in 2013 after finishing fourth in the domestic showpiece.